For the first time in NBA History, two teams that were 10 seeds a season ago are now the two teams competing in the NBA Finals one year later. What a story. The Los Angeles Lakers are heavy favorites entering their Finals matchup against the Miami Heat, as they should be.
The Miami Heat Journey
The Miami Heat are 12-3 in the playoffs. They ran through the East, and will look to shock the basketball world by upsetting the LeBron James led Los Angeles Lakers. It was only six years ago that LeBron James left and returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Since, Pat Riley and Eric Spoelstra have worked through a tough rebuild.
Let’s give the organization some love, a six year turnaround after one of the best players in league history is an impressive feat. It’s important to note, that Pat Riley has stuck with Eric Spoelstra all this time. Riley had a vision of where the team needed to be, and knew he needed to support his coach instead of doing what most organizations do, blame the coach. This led to arguably to one of the most important moves Pat Riley has made, signing Jimmy Butler. Butler was considered a team destroyer, but it’s clear that his personality is only hard to deal with if you accept losing.
It should be noted, nobody had the Miami Heat playing in the Finals this year. Not that you should care what the so called “experts” say. Miami will have an opportunity to square off against a very gritty Los Angeles Lakers team that features two of the best players in the NBA, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers are favorites yes, but let’s give Miami the respect they’ve earned. If Miami were to win, it would be a consequence of their hard-work and effort.
The Los Angeles Lakers Journey
The Los Angeles Lakers are 12-3 in the playoffs as well. They’ve won every series convincingly against the Trail Blazers, Rockets and Nuggets. Their journey though wasn’t so convincing, having failed to make the playoffs last year. As well as dealing with tragedy that shook the entire world. The passing of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis have taken this team to new heights, and have used tragedy and doubt to fuel their impressive run to the NBA Finals. Which marks the Lakes first Finals appearance since 2010. It was only a year ago that the Lakers announced the trade that brought AD to Los Angeles. The arrival of a Frank Vogel and an experienced coaching staff and other key veteran signings instantly changed the fortunates of the Lakers.
LeBron James will now be making his 10th Finals appearance. James is only the third player ever to make 10 Finals appearances. We’ve seen LeBron carry his teams to Finals for the longest time, and with the help of Anthony Davis, the Lakers are poised to win their 17th NBA Championship. Talk about an example to live by, the mental discipline to work on his body, game and mental strength is nothing short of legendary. James has done what most wouldn’t, he’s adopted to a new NBA. Working on building a respectable three-point shot and improving his game at every level. Even in his 17th year, James is still leading by example. The Lakers are logical favorites, and a loss would be a huge letdown for not only the team, but LeBron James as well.
It’s very hard to see the Lakers throwing this away. I could be very wrong about this though, which is fine. Expect a physical series, with an emphasis on defense.